How can you miss the audience so badly? I can completely understand me making a mistake. It’s just me, I am distracted by other work, I get little feedback from people whose opinions I ask, and I’m just one person. But Microsoft? Surely they have a team of people to examine the message, think about the audience and try to pick a topic and demos that matter to the group getting the message.
I arrived late at the keynote, after SQL Run and doing a bit of work. It felt like lots of marketing talk, but the interesting thing is that the next version of SQL Server will be released in the first half of 2012 and will be called SQL Server 2012. I was hoping for a return to realistic names that make sense, with SQL Server 11, but the marketing people are likely too scared to change anything.
SQL Server v11 will be SQL Server 2012. That will be fun. And confusing. And an endless source of difficult discussions among professionals. I was hoping for a return to reasonable naming. We got Windows 7, why not SQL Server 11?
Oh well, we’ll get used to it and I suppose we’ll have SQL2K12 on Win2K8 or Win2K12 as well. Maybe that won’t be so bad.
Microsoft appears to recognize there’s more of a world out there than their own products. They’ve acknowledged things at times, but for the most part keynotes seem to ignore the fact that we want and need to use other products. That didn’t stop the keynote from saying that the “eye-apps” (iApps) aren’t the only thing out there, and the keynote noting that we want tablets AND slates (who wants slates?) and a few other subtle digs at the Apple and Android worlds. It’s a transition to the Hadoop connectors have been released for SQL Server and SQL Azure.
Denny Lee of the CAT team comes out to talk about terabytes of data from web logs needing to be analyzed. A demo of analysis in Hadoop for Windows. 100% compatible with other platforms, which I hope is true. Adding any extensions or additions that aren’t in the *nix versions would be bad.
The demo pulls Hadoop data into Powerpivot for analysis. I guess this makes sense, but there’s a bunch of scenarios and information being shared that makes this too complex a demo for me. It’s just as contrived as most of the simpler ones, but it’s hard to see if there is a lot of value here. I guess if you use Hadoop, getting the data into Powerpivot could be nice, but hard to see how this makes SQL Server better for this crowd.
Next we go to showing some data explorer, more demos, but my attention wanes. I’m not sure why the keynotes are talking around SQL Server. I understand that self-service BI is important, but I’m not sure that pushing it so heavily is what this audience wants to see. I don’t know how many people outside of the SQL Server pros are that interested. This seems like a talk more for executives or business users, not the IT folk.
It feels like a miss. I know Microsoft wants to get the message out to the wider world, and there will be press people reporting on this, but I’m still surprised. The technical people want to see something that relates to them, not just to their clients. Show us something that’s of interest to us, as the developers, architects, and administrators of database systems, not as the end users.
The press won’t beat you up, they’ll ignore you. You can always give them another presentation, demo, or press release later, but the technical people, the ones that will advocate and push for upgrades should get some attention while they’re in the room, with some explanations and talks about topics that capture their interest, not showcase features that don’t require them to advance in their careers.